Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Basic Muesli (Simple Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal)

Basic Muesli 
Whenever I make this muesli, everyone loves it and it disppears quickly without a trace! Recently this muesli got a very high compliment from a Swiss friend; she said this was the best meusli she ever had. Coming from a native daughter from the land of the original Bircher Muesli, that was high praise indeed!

Soaking grains, seeds, and nuts makes them easier to chew and digest; besides, the bonus of soaking is that they are ready to eat right away! Simply top it up with more milk/yogurt if needed and extra berries or nuts in the morning or whenever you like. With all the prep out of the way the evening before, you are good to go in the morning!

As I was familiar with oat meal from a very young age, the introduction of Bircher Muesli and the subsequent addition of it to our breakfast repertoire was a shoo-in! Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe. Another general blueprint recipe that can be adjusted to the ingredients on hand or your preference. Any fruit, berries, various nuts, etc may be added or substituted and quantities altered to suit individual tastes.

Although it is usually served cold or at room temperature, the great thing is that you can eat it hot also; especially as some of our family members who like to heat up everything! If serving the muesli, hot or warm, I often reserve the berries as toppings.

Muesli may be made ahead and reserved in the fridge for 3-4 days. The recipe below makes a good healthy amount; but increase or decrease the quantities of ingredients as you like.

Basic Muesli Ingredients
2 servings


1 cup Rolled Oats (not quick or steel cut) OR multigrain flakes
2 Tbsp sliced or chopped Almonds, raw or toasted (unsalted)
2 Tbsp Raisins
4 Dates, finely chopped
1- 2 Apples, finely diced or grated
1 medium Banana, diced
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Pinch of Salt
1 - 2 cups Non-Dairy Milk, Almond, Soy, or Rice
Extra Milk for serving if needed
2 pint-sized Mason Jars (optional)

1/2 cup Non-Dairy Yogurt, Plain
Fruit, Berries, and extra nuts/seeds for topping
1 tsp Brown Sugar (optional)


Combine all the ingredients except the toppings in a mixing bowl and mix well. Alternately divide all the ingredients and place directly in jars or individual bowls. Pour into individual containers like the mason jars if you wish, cover with lids, and put in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight.

Serve with more milk if desired and top each serving with half the yogurt, more fruit, berries, nuts, etc if you wish.

Basic Muesli Ready to go!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Cracked Wheat Pudding/Porridge (Gothumai Payasam/Kanji)

Cracked Wheat Payasam is a quick and simple but delicious dessert pudding prepared Kerala style! Other types of milks such as almond, rice, or soy may be used instead of the coconut milk.

Made with a little more water, half the jaggery, and minus the spices, nuts, and raisins, it does double duty as a lovely kanji for breakfast or snack. We often had this for breakfast growing up. Regular or Irish style steel-cut oats may be used instead of the cracked wheat.

Bulgar or cracked wheat is a wonderful staple to have on hand for making Tabbouleh, Upma, and Pongal as well as a simple porridge like oatmeal. I use the finely cracked (#1 grade) for porridge, upma and tabouleh; the coarsely cracked bulgar (#3) is great for pongal and pilaf.

Dessert: 4 Servings
Porridge: 2 Servings


1/4 cup finely Cracked Wheat (Bulgar) #1 grade
1 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Jaggery or Brown Sugar
2 Cardamom Pods OR 1/2 tsp Dried ground Ginger (chukku)
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Cashew pieces
1 Tbsp Raisins
1 Tbsp grated Coconut


Combine the cracked wheat with one cup of  water in a saucepan; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until cooked and very soft.

Stir in the jaggery or brown sugar and cook until dissolved; simmer for about 5 minutes until the raw jaggery flavor is gone.

Stir in the coconut milk and simmer until hot; turn off heat.

If using cardamoms, crush slightly and gather the seeds; discard the shells. Grind the seeds to a fine powder using mortar and pestle.

Cook the cashews  until golden in the oil; add coconut along with the raisins and keep stirring until the coconut is toasted and pale gold.

Add the toasted nut mixture to the pudding/kanji along with the spices; cover and let sit for a few minutes.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

White Chili (White Bean Stew)

White Chili is a delicious change of pace from the regular Chili! White Chili is made with white beans of course and succulent veggies and flavorful herbs and spices. It goes together very quickly especially if you have cooked beans, home-cooked or canned. If using canned beans, use 2 cans (15.5 ounces) of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained. Hominy adds a down-home country taste.


1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans, cooked
2  tbsp Oil
1 large White onion, chopped
3-4 ribs celery, chopped
1 large Parsnip, diced
2 medium White Carrots, diced
2 Garlic cloves, minced and mashed
2 to 4 Serrano chiles,  finely minced
3-4 tsp fresh Rosemary leaves, finely chopped 
1 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp dried Oregano 
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
Coarse salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
1 can (15 ounces) white hominy, rinsed and drained (optional)
2-3 fresh Tomatillos, finely diced
3 tbsp cornmeal + 1 cup water
1 White Carrots, grated
1 Yellow squash, diced

Tortilla Chips
Avocado, diced
Radishes, thinly sliced
Scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
Cashew cream


Sort, soak, and cook the great northern beans in water to cover until soft; set aside until needed. Check this post on how to cook beans. The beans maybe made a couple of days ahead. If made very far ahead, freeze them and defrost before adding to chili.

In a large Dutch oven or other large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Stir in the onion, celery and carrots with a generous pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. 

Add garlic, chiles, rosemary, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 2 or 3 minutes stirring well and often so the veggies and herbs do not burn. 

Decant the cooking broth from the beans and add enough water to make a total of 3 cups; stir this into the veggies. 

Tip in the beans, hominy if using, the tomatillos and a teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until chili is thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir every minute or so to prevent burning.

Stir in cornmeal + water mixture and the grated carrots into the beans and simmer partially covered for about 10 more minutes stirring frequently. 

Turn off heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve hot with some or all of the suggested toppings. Enjoy!!